Vegan French Bread Pizza

Vegan French Bread PizzaDid you eat that fancy microwave French Bread pizza in your youth? I don’t remember having it at home, but when I went to college I bought it to eat in my dorm room. The picture on the box always looked so delicious, but the flavor and texture never quite measured up for me. It was always a soggy, sad mess when it finally hit my plate. Last week I decided to use a loaf of bread from the Farmer’s Market to make a worthy vegan french bread pizza. Topped with Field Roast sausage, fresh olives and Follow Your Heart cheese this was a huge hit. Huge hit is probably an understatement. My husband and son inhaled their pizza and I should have made double the amount that I made. Lesson learned…make big portions of vegan french bread pizza!

Vegan French Bread Pizza

There isn’t a recipe for this pizza, more of a methodology. You can use any toppings and vegan cheese that you like. Cook the pizza at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes until the cheese is getting melty and the bread toasty. I turn the broiler on at that point to add some color to the cheese and really crisp the edges of the bread.

Tips for delicious vegan french bread pizza:

  • Use a light, airy french bread – really dense french bread makes a pizza that is difficult to bite into and the bread to topping ratio is hard to get right because the bread is so dense.
  • Cook your Field Roast (or veggie meat of choice) before you put it on the pizza and in the oven. This lets the veggie meat get crisp without burning your whole pizza.
  • Use a good quality pizza sauce. My favorite is the fresh sauce from Whole Foods. It is inexpensive and has great flavor.
  • Use good quality olives from the olive bar. These will up the flavor of your pizza.
  • After cooking for 7-10 minutes, pull your pizza out of the oven. Turn on your broiler. Spray the top of the pizza with a little canola oil spray. Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes…watch carefully to prevent burning! The oil helps the cheese melt and get good color.

Vegan French Bread Pizza


Meatless Monday: Vegan Falafel Wraps

Falafel WrapWhen I first became a vegetarian many moons ago I came up with these vegan falafel wraps. They are easy, flavorful and satisfying. As I read about veganism I remember saying to Harrison “I could never be vegan, the only vegan thing I make is those falafel wraps!”. Times have obviously changed, but I still love these falafel wraps. These are a fantastic Meatless Monday option if you are cooking for meat eaters wary of having a meal without meat. The falafel and hummus are familiar flavors and make a hearty meal.

Falafel Wrap

For the falafel I used to make my own. I like the falafel recipe from Appetite for Reduction in particular. These days I typically buy pre-made falafels from Whole Foods or the Farmer’s Market. Buying falafels makes this an incredibly quick meal. I tried these frozen falafels available at Whole Foods from Falafelim. They were just ok and I don’t think I would use them again. I much prefer the ones I can buy fresh at the Farmers Market.

The hummus is the same as the falafel. Feel free to make your own. This is my favorite homemade recipe from Dreena Burton. Typically I use Haig’s hummus since I always have it on hand.

Falafel Wrap

For the vegetables, or what we call the medley, I stir the following ingredients together in a large bowl:

  • 3 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups cucumbers, peeled, seeded & chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

I put our wraps in Lavash bread. Lavash is available at both Whole Foods and Trader Joes. You can also use pita bread, but I much prefer lavash wraps. I like that the lavash can crisp up and doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the ingredients.

Falafel Wrap

Assemble the wraps:

  • Put 2 Tablespoons hummus on the left hand side of the lavash
  • Add 1/4 cup of the vegetable medley on top of the hummus
  • Add 2-3 falafels – smashed a bit -next to the medley
  • Add a dash of hot sauce (optional)
  • Roll the bottom of the lavash up 1 inch.
  • Roll entire wrap from left to right
  • Place in a hot pan to crisp up each side
  • Serve!

Falafel Wrap

Keep these ingredients on hand and you will always be ready for a last minute dinner or lunch.

Meatless Monday: Vegan Teriyaki Bowls

Vegan Teriyaki BowlsTrey has been attending a camp this summer that offers lunch each day. Initially I was packing his lunch, assuming that the vegan options would be limited. Each day though there seemed to be plenty of vegan options that Trey was excited to eat. In particular he loved the Teriyaki they offered him. It was rice, tofu and snap peas in teriyaki sauce. Since he enjoyed it so much I decided to create Vegan Teriyaki bowls at home. In our teriyaki bowls I used a base of white rice, snap peas and broccoli and marinated tofu – all topped with teriyaki sauce. These bowls are a great Meatless Monday meal since many of the flavors are familiar and it can be ready to serve your family in 30 minutes or less.

For this particular recipe I used pre-made teriyaki sauce because I wanted this to be a quick meal. You can definitely make your own teriyaki sauce – it is not difficult and there are tons of great recipes available. I used a Teriyaki sauce from Organicville. I like that it doesn’t have any strange ingredients and flavor wise it isn’t overly sweet. I often find bottled teriyaki can be sickenly sweet. In this case it is the perfect balance of sweet, savory and spicy.

Vegan Teriyaki Bowls

To cook the tofu I used one of my favorite, low touch methods – broiling. I marinate the tofu for a bit and then broil it in the oven. I love the texture of broiled tofu. It is especially good for people who are new to tofu. It is not mushy at all and has a crisp outer layer. Be sure to use a super firm tofu, preferably one that is not packaged in a tub of water. I like the Trader Joe’s brand and Wildwood Organics. If you haven’t used your broiler before here is an easy how-to.

Vegan Teriyaki Bowls

The key for a good bowl is to make sure each component tastes delicious on it’s own. If you add one flavorless component, say plain steamed broccoli, it waters down the flavor of the whole dish. I saute the broccoli and snap peas with garlic and chili flakes. I also add rice wine vinegar to the rice to add a bit of flavor.

Do you have a favorite brand of teriyaki sauce or homemade teriyaki recipe that you love?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Meatless Monday: Vegan Teriyaki Bowls
 
Savory, flavorful bowl filled with vegetables, tofu and rice. An easy weeknight meal for busy families.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Tofu
  • Teriyaki Sauce, either homemade or store-bought
  • 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon Chili Flakes
  • 3 cups Broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 cup Sugar Snap Peas
  • 1 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 3 cups White Rice, cooked
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
  • TOPPINGS
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Scallions, sliced
  • Cilantro, minced
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl or flat dish stir together 1 cup of Teriyaki sauce and ½ cup of water. Omit the water if your teriyaki sauce is already fairly thin. Slice tofu in ½ inch slabs. Place the slabs in the teriyaki mixture. Let tofu marinate for 5 minutes. You can marinate the tofu for up to 12 hours if you like. Move the oven rack to the highest possible position (about 3-4 inches from the heating element). Turn your oven on broil.
  2. While the tofu marinates, heat a large pan to Medium on the stove with olive oil. Add in garlic and chili flakes. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Toss in broccoli and snap peas and stir until the vegetables are coated in the garlic and chilis. Add in ¼ cup of water and cover pan. Let vegetables cook for 5 minutes, covered. After 5 minutes the water should be absorbed and the vegetables will be crisp cooked. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil.
  3. Go back to tofu while vegetables cook. Place slabs of tofu on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Place under the broiler and cook for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes turn tofu over and broil for an additional 5 minutes. Watch this carefully as every oven is different - check to make sure you don't burn the tofu. Once the tofu is cooked you can cut the slabs of tofu into cubes or serve the tofu in slabs.
  4. Toss cooked white rice with Rice Wine Vinegar. Start with 1 Tablespoon and add additional Tablespoon to taste.
  5. Assemble: In each bowl place rice, diced tofu, and vegetables. Drizzle teriyaki sauce over each bowl. Top with Sesame seeds, scallions and cilantro. Serve warm.

 

Meatless Monday: Spicy Vegan Fajitas

Vegan FajitasWhen I was about Trey’s age my family moved to Dallas. In addition to the major culture shock (who knew 8 year old’s carried a purse!?!) we were introduced to Tex-Mex. My favorite Tex-Mex dish was fajitas. I loved the sizzling platter of food that arrived at the table and how you got to assemble each fajita on your own. Like most kids getting to add just the right amount of toppings for myself was ideal. I am always looking for easy weeknight meals that take less than 30 minutes to make, and vegan fajitas fit that bill. This Meatless Monday meal is a spicy, satisfying and quick meal for your family.

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Meatless Monday: Spicy Peanut Noodles

Spicy Peanut Bowl

I like weeknight meals that fall into one of two categories: Ready in less than 30 minutes -OR- Components can be made in advance and assembled quickly.

My Spicy Peanut Noodles fit into the later category. This is one of my favorite meals to make when Trey has a late practice. Early in the day I slice all of the veggies, cook the noodles and make the sauce. When we get home from his practice I toss everything together and we can sit down to eat 5 minutes after walking in the door.

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Meatless Monday: Quick Curried Chickpeas

Chana Masala is my favorite meal to order when I go to a new Indian restaurant. I love the spicy, complex flavors and how each restaurant’s is slightly different. I wanted to create something similar to chana masala that I could make quickly at home. The result is this 30 minute meal that is an ideal Meatless Monday option. In my version I don’t include tomatoes, because Trey does not like chunks of tomatoes. I also include coconut milk to add some healthy fat and creamy texture to the dish. I looked at many curried chickpea recipes in books and online as I created this dish. I was inspired by recipes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Richa Hingle and Ree Drummond. Above all I wanted this dish to be fast and flavorful. It turned out to be just that and I am thrilled to have another 30 minute meal in my repertoire.
 Quick Curried Chickpeas Labeled

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Vegan Taco Salad for Breakfast?

Do you ever eat salad for breakfast? I know some people love to eat a fresh salad for breakfast, but what about leftover salad from the night before? This is one of my Mom’s favorite breakfasts, especially leftover taco salad. She loves it cold out of the frig with her coffee. While I can’t say I would ever eat this for breakfast I do love my Mom’s taco salad. It is the perfect mix of healthy green salad and tasty crushed chips. It has taken me many iterations to get a vegan version of this taco salad that tastes as good as my Mom’s. My version is made with Beyond Meat Crumbles, romaine hearts, tomatoes, chips, Daiya cheese, diced red onions, cilantro, chips and sliced green olives tossed in a salsa vinaigrette.  We top the vegan taco salad with avocado and sometimes Tofutti sour cream. It is delicious and still has that mix of fresh greens with crunchy chips.

Vegan Taco Salad Blog Pintrest

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Vegan Quesadillas to save your meal plan

The vegan quesadilla has been saving my meal planning lately. I grew up with my mom planning out a week’s worth of meals and she made those meals each night as planned.  No food wasted, no questions asked.  I plan out my meals just the way she did, but inevitably something comes up 1-2 nights a week that throws the whole thing off.  I need at least one meal that is fast, easy and the whole family will eat.  The vegan quesadilla has become my savior.  I keep all of the ingredients on hand.  I add 1 “free” night to my meal plan where I don’t plan anything.  I know that I can make these if needed.  It is easy to customize to everyone’s preferences and is ready in less than 20 minutes.  I can also make them ahead if Trey has a game or a late practice.  He can inhale them in the car either before or after.

Vegan Quesadilla Group

Last night was definitely a vegan quesadilla night.  I was exhausted and everyone was starving.  The first thing I did was cook a package of Beyond Meat Feisty Crumble.  It adds a lot of flavor to the quesadillas and makes them hearty enough for Harrison.  While that was cooking I made black beans using the method for my Black Bean Tostadas. Last week I used the Pacific Foods Refried Black Beans I bought at Target for the quesadillas.  That is definitely the way to go since the whole idea is to make this meal easy and streamlined.  I’ll be stocking up on those for my pantry!

Vegan Quesadilla

Once the “beef” (or “meatish” as Trey calls Beyond Meat) was cooked and the beans were ready I started to assemble and cook.  I take flour tortillas from Trader Joe’s and spread each one with Earth Balance while I heat up my cast iron skillet.  Each of us likes different fillings.  Harrison’s started with a layer of black beans, then Papalote Salsa (available at Whole Foods), then Daiya cheddar shreds, the Beyond Meat and finally sliced avocado.  I cooked the quesadilla on the first side for 4-5 minutes and then flipped it over and cooked it for another 3 minutes until crisp.  Harrison likes his quesadillas topped with Tofutti sour cream and pickled jalapeños.

Vegan Quesadilla 2

I cooked Trey’s, decidedly more plain, quesadilla at the same time Harrison’s was cooking.  All Trey wanted in his quesadilla was black beans, salsa and cheese.  He did top his with sour cream and pickled jalapeños after we sat down.  The kid loves his spice!  He also loves to take these quesadillas to school for lunch.  I am a big fan of cooking lunch and dinner at the same time.

Vegan Quesadilla 3

I made my quesadilla on the panini press to save time.  That let all 3 of our quesadillas cook at the same time.  This panini move was a mistake though.  It makes the quesadillas too flat and gives them a weird texture.  I filled mine with beans, salsa, cheese and  sliced sweet potato that I had left over from earlier in the week.  Aside from my panini error the flavors were good.  Next time I’ll be adding the Beyond Meat to mine as well.

These quesadillas would be awesome for Cinco de Mayo next week…with margaritas of course!

Quick Black Bean Tostadas

Quick meals are a staple of a busy life.  Even before Trey arrived I liked to have a few meals planned for the week that took less than 30 minutes to get on the table.  Once he arrived it felt like all meals needed to be quick!  Over the years I have built up my repertoire of quick vegan meals.  Which is a good thing because now that we have added sports practices and homework to our plate, weeknight meals have to be fast and easy.  I came across a recipe for tostadas in our newspaper awhile ago and decided that a veganized version would make a filling, flavorful and fast meal.  The tostadas start with a crispy tortilla spread with black beans and topped with a salad tossed with a refreshing lime dressing.

TostadaThe newspaper recipe showed me how to create the crispy tortilla base in the oven with just a little oil.  In my case I use canola oil spray.  Once you spray the tortillas with canola oil on the top they go in the oven for 12-15 minutes and come out nice and crispy.  Make sure they are very crispy when they come out of the oven.  They don’t get any crispier as they cool, so if they are a bit flexible when they come out of the oven they will not be completely crispy when it is time to serve.

TortillasWhile the tortillas bake I work on making the black bean base.  The base is a mix of canned black beans, salsa and a bit of water.  For this recipe I used the Hatch Valley Salsa from Trader Joe’s.  We are loving this salsa these days.  It is very spicy and I love that it is shelf stable.  I buy a few jars at a time and store them in the pantry.

TJ SalsaI take 1/2 cup of the salsa and add it to a small pan with a can of drained black beans and 1/4 cup of water. The beans cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Beans before cookingAfter cooking for 10 minutes the beans are very soft and the salsa has cooked down a bit.  At this point you can smash the beans down to whatever texture you like with a spatula or wooden spoon.  In my case I like them to have some texture, but be spreadable.  You will be spreading them on top of the crisp tortillas so you don’t want the individual beans rolling around.

Cooked BeansWhile the beans and tortilla are cooking you can get the salad ready.  I place thinly sliced romaine hearts, sliced onions and minced cilantro in a large bowl.  The dressing is just lime juice, olive oil, agave nectar, salt and pepper.

Salad ToppingOnce the salad is tossed it is time to assemble the tostada.  Spread the black beans on the crisp tortillas.  Top each tortilla with salad and sliced avocados.  Of course skip the avocado for anyone who is an avocado hater, like my son Trey.  We also top ours with Tabasco, vegan sour cream and pickled jalapenos.

Tostada DInner

What are your favorite family-friendly, quick weeknight meals?

Quick Black Bean Tostadas
 
A quick, weeknight meal full of flavor that your whole family will love. The crispy tortilla, warm black beans and fresh salad are a delicious combination.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Ingredients
  • 10 Corn Tortillas
  • ½ Tablespoon of Canola Oil or spray oil
  • 1 Can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ Cup Salsa (use your favorite)
  • ¼ Cup Water
  • 4 Cups sliced Romaine Hearts (or your favorite crisp lettuce)
  • ¼ Cup Sliced Onions
  • ¼ Cup Cilantro, minced
  • Dressing
  • 2 Tablespoons of Lime Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Agave Nectar
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Pepper
  • Optional Toppings
  • Sliced Avocado
  • Vegan Sour Cream
  • Pickled Jalapenos
  • Hot Sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Spread tortillas on 2 large baking sheets. Brush the top of each tortilla with olive oil (or spray the top with canola oil). Bake for 12-15 minutes until crisp.
  3. Add black beans, salsa, and water to a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and lower heat to medium low. Cook for 10 minutes.
  4. While the beans and tortillas are cooking, assemble the salad. Start by making the dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake it until they are well combined.
  5. Place the lettuce, onions, and cilantro in a large bowl. Add half to ¾ of the dressing and toss. Add more dressing according to how much dressing you like on your salad.
  6. After the beans have cooked for 10 minutes they should be very soft. Remove the pan from the heat and use a wooden spoon or spatula to smash the beans. Smash the beans until they reach a spreadable consistency, but still have some texture.
  7. To assemble the tostadas spread smashed black beans on a crispy tortilla. Top with salad. Add any additional toppings you are using on top of the salad. Serve.
Notes
Double the recipe for a larger family.

For leftovers double the beans, crisp tortillas and dressing. This makes a quick and easy lunch. All you will need to do is make the salad, warm the beans, and assemble.

 

Lemon Broccoli Sausage Pasta

For a long time when he was a baby and little guy Trey HATED broccoli.  He was horrified every time it made an appearance on the dinner table.  At some point I made this lemon broccoli pasta and he decided he actually loved lemon broccoli.  But only lemon broccoli.  To this day if people ask him if he likes broccoli he says “No, I only like lemon broccoli.” Which completely baffles most people since he doesn’t offer any additional details.  Hopefully this pasta might convert any broccoli haters you have in your life!

Lemon Broccoli Pasta

To make the lemon broccoli you quickly saute garlic and crushed chilis in olive oil in a skillet.  Then add in the broccoli and about 1/4 cup of water to “steam” the broccoli for 5 minutes.  I like to chop the broccoli in small florets so it cooks quickly and because kids don’t seem to like “chunks” of anything.  Once the broccoli is a texture you like, add in the lemon juice and lemon zest.  At this point you have lemon broccoli which can be added to the pasta or served as a side dish (add a little salt if serving as a side dish).

This recipe can be made with or without vegan sausage.  I love Field Roast sausage, which is strange because before I became a vegetarian I absolutely hated sausage.  The smell, the texture and grease…I am on the verge of gagging writing this.  But the Field Roast sausage is hearty, savory and adds a great texture to this pasta recipe.  If you have family members who don’t like meat replacements you can easily leave this on the side.  I saute the Field Roast separately so it gets nice and crisp and I don’t have to worry about burning the garlic in the broccoli.

Saute Field RoastIf you want to make your own veg sausage here is a recipe from Julie Hasson that is fantastic.

Once the broccoli is prepared you toss it with the cooked pasta, salt and sausage.  Taste for seasoning.  You may want to add more salt or lemon juice depending on your taste.

Lemon Broccoli Pasta Toss

This is a great weeknight meal as it all comes together in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta.  Please give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.

Lemon Broccoli Sausage Pasta
 
This flavorful, hearty pasta dish comes together in the time it takes to cook pasta. It makes a filling, weeknight meal for your busy family.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Ingredients
  • 1 lb pasta
  • 4 Vegan Italian Sausages (see note), sliced into ¼ inch rounds
  • 1 TB Olive Oil (divided)
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ½ - 1 tsp chili flakes (depending on your spice preferences)
  • 3 cups chopped Broccoli Florets
  • ¼ cup Water
  • 3 TB Lemon Juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ - 1 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Bring water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside once cooking is complete.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil and you cook your pasta prepare the broccoli and vegan sausage.
  3. Heat 1 tsp oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip sausage slices over and cook for another 3 minutes, until browned. Set aside.
  4. Add 2 tsp of olive oil to a medium sized skillet on Medium High heat. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add chili flakes. Add in broccoli florets and ¼ cup water. Cover skillet and reduce heat to medium. After 5 minutes check broccoli. It should be bright green and fork tender. Set aside.
  5. Add cooked, drained pasta to a large bowl. Toss in cooked broccoli, browned sausage, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt. Toss to combine. Taste for seasoning. You may want to add more salt, more chili flakes and/or more lemon juice depending on your preferences.
Notes
I recommend Field Roast Italian Sausage or use this recipe by Julie Hasson for homemade vegan sausage

 

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